August 14th, 2009
04:54 AM ET
5 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: August 14, 2009

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The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

WASHINGTON/POLITICAL
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com

CNN: Tough questions, frustrations continue in town halls
Town hall meetings continued Thursday with more members of Congress facing an onslaught of tough questions about health care reform plans.

CNN: A $12 million health care campaign hits the airwaves
A new $12 million targeted television campaign was launched Thursday that is designed to provide "cover and support and credit" to members of Congress who back President Obama's approach to health care reform, a member of the coalition behind the ad tells CNN.

CNN: Coburn: Controlling health care costs may fall to patients
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, at a town hall meeting Thursday in Muskogee, said he predicts much of the responsibility in controlling health care costs will fall upon patients.

CNN: Sanford defends use of state airplane in op-ed
No one is ever going to accuse embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford of backing down.

First on the Ticker: GOP support for Sanford impeachment grows
A South Carolina Democrat told CNN on Thursday that Republican legislators have assured him there are enough votes to start a bipartisan push for impeachment against Gov. Mark Sanford when the legislative session begins in January.

CNN: Axelrod blasts out his own 'viral e-mail'
David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Obama, is aiming to debunk online "myths" about the president's health care plan with a viral e-mail of his own.

CNN: Health-reform e-mails flooding House's Web site, techs say
A huge spike in the number of people wanting to e-mail their members of Congress about health-care reform has overloaded a key feature on the House of Representatives home page, the House technical office said Thursday.

CNN: Preliminary agreement reached with air traffic controllers
The Obama administration has reached a tentative three-year agreement with the nation's air traffic controllers over pay and working conditions which could end a period of open hostility between controllers and their employer.

CNN: Eunice Shriver remembered at public wake
A public wake began Thursday afternoon for Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of President John F. Kennedy and a champion of the disabled. Shriver died Tuesday at age 88.

CNN: Is Palin getting ready to tweet again?
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin changed her Twitter account on Thursday to @SarahPalinUSA, abandoning her old username @AKGovSarahPalin.

CNN: Democrat defends cell phone use during town hall
A Democratic congresswoman being criticized for chatting on her cell phone during a health care town hall meeting defended her actions Thursday and suggested that the video of the event may have been doctored.

New York Times: Obama Proposal to Create Medicare Panel Meets With Resistance
As chairman of one of the more obscure federal agencies, Glenn M. Hackbarth is little known outside the world of health care and his hometown, Bend, Ore. If President Obama has his way, Mr. Hackbarth could become one of the most important people in government, with the power to say how Medicare spends more than $450 billion a year.

Washington Post: Obama Wants Big Banks To Pay More for Oversight
The Obama administration is pressing ahead with its broad overhaul of financial regulation by proposing to hike the fees big financial firms pay for federal oversight while easing the burden for smaller ones, officials said.

Washington Post: Hagel Climbing the Ladder in Obama White House
Former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel (R), a senior administration official-in-waiting either later this term or in President Obama's second term (if there is one), is taking another step into Obama's national security team. We're hearing Hagel is in line to co-chair the important President's Intelligence Advisory Board (formerly known as the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board).

Washington Post: Gates: No Troop Request In Afghanistan Review
The U.S. commander in Afghanistan will not make a specific request for more troops when he submits a review of the situation there in the coming weeks, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday.

Los Angeles Times: Senate committee scraps healthcare provision that gave rise to 'death panel' claims
A Senate panel has decided to scrap the part of its healthcare bill that in recent days has given rise to fears of government "death panels," with one lawmaker suggesting the proposal was just too confusing.

McClatchy: Obama officials find another world on visit to rural Alaska
Four of President Obama's cabinet members whirled through a pair of remote Alaska communities Wednesday to hear an earful about the state's novel needs and the borderline third-world conditions in some villages.

New York Times: Bill Clinton: The Time Is Now
At times fiery with his familiar finger-pointing repeatedly jabbing the air, former President Bill Clinton implored an audience of bloggers and activists tonight not to lose out on a moment that he said he had worked all his life for.

NATIONAL
For the latest national news: www.CNN.com.

CNN: Agent: Michael Vick signs with Philadelphia Eagles
Michael Vick, recently reinstated to the NFL after being freed from federal prison after a dogfighting-related conviction, has signed a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, according to his agent, Joel Segal.

CNN: Phelps unhurt after Maryland car crash
Olympic gold medal swimming champion Michael Phelps was involved in a traffic accident in Baltimore, Maryland, on Thursday night, but was uninjured, police said.

CNN: Man sentenced after leaving water bottles for immigrants
An Arizona man caught leaving water bottles in the desert for illegal immigrants has been sentenced to 300 hours of community service and a year of probation, an aid group said.

CNN: FAA suspends 2 air traffic controllers over Hudson crash
The Federal Aviation Administration has suspended two air traffic controllers from New Jersey's Teterboro Airport over Saturday's collision of two aircraft over the Hudson that killed nine people, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

CNN: More than 2,000 evacuated as California wildfire grows
More than 2,000 residents have been ordered to flee ahead of a raging wildfire near northern California's Santa Cruz Mountains, and one man said he had an "ominous feeling" as ashes descended on him.

CNN: Man, 92, wins $1.9 million tobacco judgment in wife's death
A Florida jury awarded a 92-year-old man $1.9 million in compensatory damages for the death of his wife, a former two-pack-a-day Marlboro smoker who started when she was 16 and died in her 70s, attorneys said Thursday.

CNN: Gibson CEO: Les Paul was 'a visionary'
Les Paul never stopped tinkering, said Henry Juszkiewicz.

CNN: Man pleads guilty to racial threat using fake Facebook account
An African-American man has pleaded guilty after being accused of impersonating a white supremacist in a fictitious Facebook account to make death threats against an African-American university student.

CNN: Exxon Mobil to pay $600,000 for deaths of 85 protected birds
Oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. has pleaded guilty and will pay $600,000 in fines for the deaths of 85 protected migratory birds in the company's wastewater ponds in five states.

New York Times: Collision Bares Longtime Rift Over Air Safety
Roughly 15 years ago, the federal agency that investigates air disasters made a plea for more data on the air-tour industry, to improve safety for helicopter, airplane, balloon and airship flights around the nation. Six years later, it asked again.

New York Times: Keeping Alive Memories That Bedevil Him
A retired postal worker, living not entirely at peace in an adult community called Leisure Village West, recently sent remember-the-date notes to large newspapers and television networks, then followed up with calls that often bounced to voice mail. The 14th of August; remember the date.

New York Times: Judges’ Dissents for Death Row Inmates Are Rising
It took just 80 words for a federal appeals court to deny Kevin Cooper’s most recent plea to avoid execution. But attached to that order was a forceful 101-page dissent by a judge, all but pleading to spare Mr. Cooper’s life.

Washington Post: High-Stakes Opening and Closing Roles for a U.S. General in Iraq
Brig. Gen. Heidi Brown made history during the 2003 invasion of Iraq as the first female commander to head an American combat brigade in wartime.

INTERNATIONAL
For the latest international news: http://edition.cnn.com/

CNN: UN expresses concern about Suu Kyi; EU adopts more sanctions
The United Nations Security Council on Thursday expressed "serious concern" over the conviction of Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi while the European Union adopted additional sanctions against the nation.

CNN: Authorities ask for help in finding terrorism suspect
Authorities are asking for the public's help in finding an eighth suspect accused of being a member of a North Carolina group that allegedly plotted "violent jihad" overseas.

CNN: Less sex, more TV idea aired in India
On World Population Day this year India's new health and welfare minister came out with an idea on how to tackle the population issue: Bring electricity to every Indian village so that people would watch television until late at night and therefore be too tired to make babies.

CNN: China: Filtering software will not be required
Individual computer users in China may choose whether to install a controversial content filtering system, but the system will be installed on computers in any public place, China's minister of Industry and Information Technology said Thursday.

CNN: Experts: Many young Muslim terrorists spurred by humiliation
At first, no one seemed to notice the young man who walked into the hotel lobby at around 7:45 that Friday morning.

CNN: Typhoon survivor: Our house was like a boat
A survivor from the typhoon that devastated Taiwan told how she and her grandson were surrounded by rising water in their mountain village.

CNN: U.N. experts say Iran tortured to extract confessions
Three independent United Nations human rights experts have accused Iran of torturing confessions from detainees charged with fomenting political unrest, the international organization said Thursday.

CNN: At least 20 killed in Iraq blast
At least 20 people were killed and 30 wounded in a double suicide bombing Thursday in northern Iraq, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said.

New York Times: Terrifying Ride to Safety for Survivors in Taiwan
The road that wends through the storm-battered mountains of Kaohsiung County comes to an end at a breathtaking abyss.

New York Times: U.S. to Resume Training Georgian Troops
The United States is resuming a combat training mission in the former Soviet republic of Georgia to prepare its army for counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan, despite the risks of angering Russia, senior Defense Department officials said Thursday.

BUSINESS
For the latest business news: www.CNNMoney.com.

CNNMoney: Consumers not feeling a recovery
Two key reports Thursday showed one thing: happy days are not here again for American consumers.

CNNMoney: Where lefties are always right
President Obama and his fellow southpaws have cause for celebration this week: Thursday marks the 18th annual International Left-Handers Day. But for entrepreneur Margaret Majua, founder of Lefty's San Francisco, every day is an occasion to give thanks for lefties.

CNNMoney: Banks wary of small business ARC loans
More than 1,000 emergency loans have been granted to struggling companies since the Small Business Administration launched the much-anticipated America's Recovery Capital program in mid-June, according to a lending tally released this week. While the list confirms that the program is likely to hit its goal of making 10,000 loans by the time it ends in late 2010, it also reveals that banks are still cautious about participating.

New York Times: China Warms to New Credo: Business First
So far this week, the World Trade Organization has rebuffed China in an important case involving Chinese restrictions on imported books and movies. The Chinese government dropped explosive espionage charges against executives of a foreign mining giant, the Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto, after a global corporate outcry. And on Thursday, the government said it had backed off another contentious plan to install censorship software on all new computers sold here.

New York Times: Europe’s Surge Signals Hope for Economic Recovery
The European economy bounced back with unexpected strength in the second quarter, buoying hopes that a worldwide recession was drawing to a close.

In Case You Missed It
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CNN: Free running in London
CNN's Zain Verjee rocks, tucks, jumps and rolls and goes free running in London.

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